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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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most important subjects that could come under the cognizance of any deliberative body,--the assuming of independence; and the formation of a new plan of government.  The Continental Congress resolved, on the 15th of May, that it should be recommended to the assemblies and conventions of the colonies, in which no regular government had been established, to adopt such forms as should best suit their condition, and lead to the happiness of their constituents.  This was virtually a recommendation to declare independence; for there can be no higher act of sovereignty or self control in a people, than to set up for themselves a new and separate scheme of government.  When the subject came before the New York Congress, a week afterwards, it was evidently regarded in this light, and the debates took a turn corresponding with the same view.

Up to this period, very few persons in New York had thought seriously of independence.  We have seen the Congress, a year ago, endeavoring to patch up a plan of reconciliation, and since that time extremely tender in taking any steps, which should implicate them in the charge of obstinate disloyalty to the King of Great Britain.[24]  In this respect, nearly all the other colonies, nay doubtless every other one, were in advance of New York.  It is not easy to trace the growth of the spirit of independence from it first germination, through its gradual progress, and to decide whet and where it came earliest to maturity, and took the strongest hold on the public mind.  When the war began, it is probable that circumstances, emanating from the oppressive measures of the British


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From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 90. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to jvinci@colonialhall.com.

 
 


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Last modified August 20, 2006